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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, New York, USA

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Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, New York, USA

daina050



Registered: February 2007
Posts: 1
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A few months ago, after I happened to glance at some papers from an ecology class my mom was taking, I realized what we are doing to our environment, to our home. If we want the atmosphere to be good to us, it is a two-way street: we must be good to it. Finally, I began to take initiative: newspapers, bottles, and cardboard in my home must be recycled! Two friends and I volunteered for an organization we found through volunteermatch.com , Transportation Alternatives, because we realize that cars and fossil fuels are destroying our earth. Transportation Alternatives seeks to encourage the use of mass transportation and car pooling, as well as environment-friendly modes of commuting, such as bicycling and hybrid cars.


That said, I unintentionally discovered this opportunity (Apprentice Ecologist™ Initiative) on volunteermatch.com. Two of my volunteer-eager friends and I were very interested. We decided to take a trip to the beach, specifically, Jones Beach--why not? Our summer just began, and we could make a day out of it; we could work and play. Besides, our mothers would be very pleased, because the truth of the matter is that before learning about global warming, we were all guilty, at one time or another (not chronically, but still) of littering ourselves. I know it's horrible, but it is the truth. Maybe this would help rectify the situation, and encourage others to get more involved and be more conscious of their planet.


I was very pleased (and surprised) to find that the portion of the beach we walked along was relatively clean. Perhaps it was because the beach was not extremely crowded, and there are probably people employed to also clean up, but there were the expected items--empty bottles strewn across the sand, paper cups that once held soda, empty containers that probably held French fries or chicken nuggets, and napkins, wrappers and potato chip bags scattered around. In one case, a sock was found! But I doubt that was intentional. Our favorite part, would be, unanimously, the strange/bewildered glances from beach goers.


Even if the work done was minimal, it feels good to be a leader, and there is a certain satisfaction you get that cannot be gotten elsewhere, a satisfaction that comes from within, knowing that you are doing what you can. If everyone helped out just that little bit, then perhaps we could be on our way to solving the litter problem that is plaguing the Earth. I think the key to getting everyone involved is awareness, though. Education and awareness are the only hope for teaching, for reducing, and perhaps eventually solving, the litter problem. A problem that I learned about in the course of my bit of research is the fact that countless people discard their cigarette butts--out the window of their car, on the ground or sidewalk as they're entering a building or a store. Maybe since they are so small and don't seem as unsightly as throwing out a bottle of soda or a wad of paper, it is misconceived that cigarette butts are less hazardous to the environment. The truth of the matter is that the 4,000+ toxins that make up cigarettes are being released into the environment. Much of the carelessly littered garbage winds up in sewers and is eventually released into our waterways, thereby disrupting biodiversity. Perhaps what people don't realize is that an upset in wildlife ultimately affects humans.


Besides educating and making people aware of the detrimental environmental effects of littering, I think more recycling facilities need to be opened to encourage recycling as well. If one person gets five people to be more conscious of their habits, and each of those five people do the same, I am confident that eventually, our world could be a less polluted place, and the beauty and homes the Earth offers and provide can be preserved.


So now I know what I have to do: I must take my knowledge, and my tan, and get people involved. Littering is not as harmless as it may seem...what's next on my agenda is starting up a club at school this fall that focuses on protecting the environment!
· Date: March 14, 2007 · Views: 7424 · File size: 37.6kb · : 350 x 263 ·
Hours Volunteered: 15
Volunteers: 3
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 15 to 16
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 1.5
Trash Removed/Recycled from Environment (kg): 30
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